Cristiano Ronaldo Masks Manchester United’s Major Flaws

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Chloe Knott - Danehouse / Contributor

When Cristiano Ronaldo moved back to Manchester United late in the summer transfer window it came as a surprise to many given the direction of the Premier League side.

Ronaldo is clearly still one of the top players on the planet, despite being 36 years old, but United is littered with youth in their attack with starlets like Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Jadon Sancho.

Three months into the season though, Ronaldo is carrying this Red Devils side and single handedly ensuring Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s job as manager. 

Tuesday was yet another perfect display of the Portuguese attacker’s greatness. There may be long portions of the match where Ronaldo is darting around the pitch the way he did in his 20s, but ultimately everyone knows he’s out there and lurking.

United trailed not just once, but twice against Atalanta. The common theme on both occasions? Ronaldo was able to rescue United from an uncomfortable position.

The discussions around the Old Trafford side have been dominated by the team’s manager, and supporters are largely desperate for a change in that department, however, those talks only gloss over the major issues that linger in the squad.

Harry Maguire has underwhelmed greatly since returning from injury last month and is now a huge liability at the heart of the United defense. 

The club also struggles mightily in the midfield as Solskjær regularly struggles to find consistency with players like Fred, Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba when it comes to providing cover for the back line.

These issues aren’t hidden very well, and in fact, they’re on display almost every match at one point or another.

United’s greatest blessing, and perhaps curse though, remains Ronaldo. When the team was thrashed in a 5-0 beatdown at the hands of Liverpool recently, it appeared there was no coming back for Solskjær.

That wasn’t the case. The Norwegian was quickly able to turn the tide with a convincing 3-0 win over Tottenham, followed by Ronaldo’s heroics against Atalanta a day ago.

With the Manchester Derby looming on a date with Pep Guardiola and City, Solskjær and his boys could be right back under the microscope if the team underperforms. 

That’s the life of being a top club in the European landscape. It’s a challenge. Never forgiving and always begging the question; what have you done for me lately?

Although that question may be a bleak one for United to address at this time, Ronaldo is certainly doing his part and that means the attention is on the Portuguese superstar.

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